Strong evidence shows that physical inactivity increases the risk of adverse health conditions, such as coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and breast and colon cancers, which can contribute to a shortened life expectancy. Because much of the world's population is engaged in sedentary work, this presents a major challenge to public health.
Inactivity is now listed as the fourth biggest killer of adults by the World Health Organisation and causes 9% of premature mortality – more than 5.3 million deaths a year.
In a workplace setting, finding ways to stay active throughout the day can be particularly challenging. However, even if you spend the majority of your time behind a desk, there are many ways to break away from the daily office routine.
RICS Recruit has come up with some suggestions:
If you’re going to be sitting all day at work, try to avoid sitting your whole way in. If you can, try cycling to work. If you take public transport, how about getting off one or two stops early and walking the extra distance. Similarly, if you drive, find a parking spot further away.
Take the stairs
To build more activity into your day, take the stairs instead of the elevator. This idea could also be transferred throughout the office: walk across the hall to talk to a co-worker instead of sending an email or use a restroom on a different floor to give you some extra time away from your desk.
Step away from the PC
It is important to include screen breaks throughout your day. This gives you a chance to stand, stretch, walk around, or climb up and down a flight of stairs.
There are tons of different fitness trackers that can encourage you to move throughout the day. If you can convince your fellow colleagues to get them as well, you can compete and turn it into an office bonding activity.
Go out at lunchtime
Go for a jog or brisk walk in the middle of the day. You will be surprised how much better you will feel. The key is not to think about work while you are out at lunch.
Do meetings need to be based around a table? Rather than an hour-long meeting, a 15-minute standing meeting will ensure that no one drifts off, and data shows that these are not only shorter but more effective.
Standing rather than sitting while doing your work can also be a helpful option, allowing your muscles to flex continuously and your blood circulating well. Another benefit is that you burn more calories throughout the day, helping with maintenance of a healthy weight.
Standing phone calls
Just the act of standing burns more calories than sitting. As an added bonus, standing whilst talking on the phone can make you sound more confident as you talk.